Lyrically, the track's amongst the most incisive moments the band have ever hit on - spitting their quiet menace at everyone from grubby MP's to the "men in frocks of Parliament". Although the band's hallmark blend of domestic and public is as poignant as ever, the song comes heavily armed with overt political barbs. The societal frustration of lines like "Everybody bet on the boom and got busted" come piqued by classic B&S protagonists - gathered around kitchen tables, studying in the library, working out how changes in the outside world impact on theirs.

Stuart Murdoch's bite's worse than his bark though - despite the sharp awareness of its meaning, his vocal line glimmers with a similar gentle charm, above the lush swirl of a string-led wash. It's a tender introduction to one of this year's very best records - listen for yourself below.

 

The Cat with the Cream

Sitting at the old kitchen table                               
Peace and health and dreams  
Stretching out in the darkness                  
Mother’s up the stairs with her ageing new boyfriend             
Cathy’s staying in to make sure nothing happens                   
All aboard the freak parade                                               
I cover up my head and pray                                             
I’m praying for the light                                                                                           
Down amongst the old city chambers                
Men in frocks debate all the policy changes                              
Everybody bet on the boom and got busted                               
Everybody bet and in the government trusted                
Grubby little red MP                                                 
Yellow flapping hopelessly
 
Tory like the cat with the cream                                        
Tory like the cat with the cream                                        
I studied you in history                                            
I studied in the library                                             
In days of old when knights were bold                            
They’d settle it with sword and shield                             
In days of old when knights were bold                            
It’s settled by the king                                             
 
Praying for a friend is contagious
Specially when it comes at the old kitchen table
Listening for the swoosh of his quickening paces
Watching for the smile on the bravest of faces
How I wish you’d read to me
Verses rich in swallows and trees
Get me though the night 
 
Waiting at the old kitchen table
Listening for my code listening for my instructions
Surely now I’m here, I am destined for greatness
I want to be the Queen pulling kids out of rivers
All aboard the freak parade
I cover up my head and pray
 
Praying for the cat with the cream                                    
Praying for the cat with the cream                                    
I studied you in history                                            
I studied in the library                                                         
In days of old when knights were bold                            
They’d settle it with sword and shield                             
In days of old when knights were bold                            
It’s settled by the king
It’s settled by the king
It’s settled by the king
It’s settled by the king

Belle and Sebastian's Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance is released via Matador on January 19th. Pre-order the album here.